Date Published: 

Thu, 08/11/2018
Nicolas Poussin The Triumph of Pan, 1636; Oil on canvas


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Image: Nicolas Poussin The Triumph of Pan, 1636; Oil on canvas, 135.9 x 146 cm: Bought with contributions from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund, 1982 © The National Gallery, London

Nicolas Poussin’s The Triumph of Pan, a much-loved work from the National Gallery’s Collection, is travelling the UK in 2019.

The three venues for the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour 2019 are Victoria Art Gallery, Bath; York Art Gallery; and Auckland Castle, part of The Auckland Project, County Durham.

Over a period of one year the annual National Gallery Masterpiece Tour offers three museums and galleries outside London the opportunity to display a major work from the Gallery’s collection. The Gallery is committed to sharing the collection throughout the UK, and the Masterpiece Tour, made possible by the generous support of Christie’s, this year enables those in north and south west England to access one of its masterpieces in their own region.

Victoria Art Gallery, Bath

11 April – 7 July 2019

At Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery, Poussin’s masterpiece will be shown alongside works from Bath & North East Somerset Council’s own art collection, which includes works from the fifteenth century to the present day. Exploring the timeless relevance of the Classical in art and design, the display will reflect on Bath’s Roman and Georgian heritage and include works by artists as diverse as Thomas Malton, Jean Claude Nattes and Grayson Perry.

Jon Benington, Victoria Art Gallery Manager, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as the first venue for the 2019 Masterpiece Tour, and look forward to seeing The Triumph of Pan displayed at the Victoria Art Gallery, where local residents and visitors to Bath will be able to see it for free.”

York Art Gallery

12 July – 22 September 2019

The next stop on the tour is York Art Gallery, founded in 1892, which has a rich collection spanning over 600 years of Western art, from the fourteenth century to the present day. Highlights include early religious Italian panels, seventeenth-century Dutch masterpieces, Victorian narrative paintings, and twentieth-century works by artists such as LS Lowry and David Hockney, as well as the largest collection of work by York-born artist William Etty RA and a large collection of works on paper. The Gallery also holds the most extensive and representative collection of studio ceramics, showcased in the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). Following a major £8 million redevelopment project which created sixty percent more display space and new gardens, the Gallery reopened in 2015 and now runs a dynamic programme of temporary exhibitions of both contemporary and historic art.

Jennifer Alexander, Curator of  Fine Art at York Art Gallery, said: ‘We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to host the National Gallery Masterpiece tour of The Triumph of Pan by Nicolas Poussin next year, and look forward to building a collections show around this remarkable painting. Works from our collection by masters such as Dughet, Bernini, Domenichino and others will be brought together to explore the life, career and legacy of Poussin as well as the mythological characters he depicts. We are certain that this show will be hugely popular with our visitors.’

Auckland Castle, part of The Auckland Project, County Durham

5 October 2019 – 5 January 2020

The final venue in the 2019 Masterpiece Tour is Auckland Castle, one of the most important and best-preserved medieval bishops' palaces in Europe. The Castle, once home to the Prince Bishops of Durham, is now the centrepiece of The Auckland Project, a new visitor destination centred around arts, heritage and faith.  Set to reopen in 2019, Auckland Castle is currently undergoing conservation to be returned to its original splendour, with highlights including a succession of Georgian Gothic State Rooms containing delicate plasterwork, originally created in the 1700s by the renowned English architect James Wyatt. Amongst the finest surviving examples of Wyatt’s Georgian Gothic in the country, they form a state processional route from the Castle entrance to the great Throne Room, where audiences with the Bishop were once held.  As well as telling the story of the Prince Bishops of Durham, Auckland Castle also boasts a temporary exhibition programme and is home to Jacob and his Twelve Sons, an impressive cycle of paintings by the Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbarán.  

Clare Baron, Curator at Auckland Castle, said:  “Conserving Auckland Castle as part of The Auckland Project has allowed us to open up this once private palace and ensure it can be enjoyed by the North East community, alongside the artwork housed inside. It is a privilege to be able to do the same for another masterpiece and we look forward to working with the National Gallery to display ‘The Triumph of Pan’ in 2019.”   

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, of the National Gallery, said: The Masterpiece Tour gives us the opportunity to share a great painting with people across the country. Poussin's mythological masterpiece will be shown in Bath, York and Bishop Auckland where some fascinating and very varied programmes are planned. We are much looking forward to the Tour.”

Orlando Rock, UK Chairman of Christie’s, of Christie’s UK, said:  ‘‘Christie's strongly believes in the role that art and collecting play in the world today - and in the vital importance of art being accessible to all, so we are delighted to be again supporting the National Gallery’s 2019 Masterpiece Tour.  Regional museums play a vital role in enriching the cultural life of the country - so it is deeply rewarding to know that Poussin’s arcadian vision from Cardinal Richelieu’s Collection will now be enjoyed by the people of Bath, York and Bishop Auckland.

The Masterpiece Tour is part of the National Gallery’s commitment to promote the understanding, knowledge, and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible. This opportunity is being made possible by the generous support of Christie’s.

In 2018 Hans Holbein the Younger’s A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling went on display at The New Art Gallery Walsall;  Shetland Museum & Archives; and Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, with audiences of more than 45,000 across the first two tour venues. The Gallery is now inviting proposals from museums and galleries across the UK for the 2020 tour.

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